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Monday, September 16, 2013

What God Demands of Us

God's pretty straightforward. He wants something, He says so.

I'm sure He enjoys hosannas and joyful praise. I'm sure He gets a charge out of Bible Study, and being able to quote chapter and verse for any occasion.

But that's icing on the cake. You want to do something for Him...you visit prisoners, you care for the ill, you help the poor. "You do it for the least of these, you do it for Me."

What that means, practically, is that you don't walk past a homeless person without offering some kind of care...even if all you can give is your attention, and the understanding that this person is as much an heir to the Kingdom as you are.

It means that you don't look at inmates as people who should simply be warehoused, preferably until they die. Maybe you can't face a prison visit...but you pay attention to local politics and support officials who strive for rehabilitation, and care of the prisoners' souls.

No matter what they did, because in God's moral economy, we're all a lot closer to Charles Manson than we are to Jesus.

Jesus said Love your Neighbor as Yourself. He was probably not joking.

Paul said that he could work miracles, but without Love, it would be worth nothing.

That Love has to reach out, otherwise it just stagnates, a theoretical construct. If the Love we offer God is theoretical, will He be theoretical for us? Wouldn't blame him.

Thinking about all of this my first thought is, I don't want to. I want to look past the homeless, because they make me uncomfortable. I want to feel self-righteously superior toward felons, because I'm a really nice guy. I don't wnt to rehabilitate them; I want to take pagan pleasure in their sufferings.

But that's just not allowed. I can't change the reluctance in my heart, but I can change my actions, and I can resolutely refuse to indulge in the thoughts of self-righteousness and disdain. I can say, No.

It's an uphill fight. It always will be. But, as the Japanese say, ganbatte.

Please continue trying to do your best.

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